How to settle down as an expat in Singapore – Part IV

Last week I posted the part 3 of this series – that focused on how to set up your home in Singapore. Further to that, this part is dedicated to how you can make your life more convenient in Singapore – know your neighborhood, public transport – basically get going here.

Singapore is divided into estates or towns that are well equipped to cater to your daily needs. Super markets, food courts, hair salons, etc are readily available, mostly within walking distance. Let’s take a look.


Here is a list of some of the Supermarkets and convenience stores that you can visit for your daily needs

  1. Fair Price – a regular supermarket for your daily needs – sells food items, medicines, toiletries etc.
  2. Cold Storage – a high end supermarket.
  3. Watsons – sells over the counter medicines, cosmetics etc.
  4. Guardian – another medical shop
  5. Giant – another very good supermarket
  6. Value Dollar – affordable knick-knacks sold here

Here is how you can make your life more comfortable in the island city:

  1. Purchase an EZlink card – one card for all transport – MRT (mass rapid transit), LRT (Light Rail Transit), buses as well as cabs. Although some cabs may at times not have the facility or a non-functional one. EZlink cards can be purchased at any MRT station. You can top-up the Link card at the ticketing machines in MRT stations, AXS machines as well as the ATM machines (provided you have a bank account in that particular bank).
  2. Open a Bank Account: You will need a bank account in Singapore. There are many banks – DBS, POSB, OCBC, UOB, Standard Chartered, etc. Walk into any of the branches with your EP/ DP/ IC. Work Permit holders also need to present their Passport to open an account. I took 15 minutes to open my account which was functional immediately.
  3. Hire a Maid: You can hire a part maid or a full time maid in Singapore. A part time maid will come for about 4 hours. Rates vary; mostly it’s about SGD 40 for 4-5 hours. A full time maid can also be hired as well. Make sure you hire one from a registered agency.
  4. Get a Library Membership: Singapore’s National Library is a great place to spend time. Walk into any Library for free and pick up a book/ newspaper and read. As a foreigner, you can take a 1 year membership for SGD 50+ (approximately). Walk into any of the neighborhood library and ask for a membership. After the procedure is completed, your card will be issued immediately and you can start borrowing books right away. You can borrow up to 8 books at a time. Each book is allowed to be borrowed for approximately 3 weeks’ time. Plus, you also have the convenience of dropping the borrowed books at any of the NLB drop boxes, not necessarily the one that you borrowed from. More information here
  5. Use the Community Centre: Each neighborhood has a community center that has different kinds of recreational courses that you can enroll. Some of the community centers also have sports facilities like Table Tennis, etc. You can book your slot in advance and use the facilities for a nominal fee. More information:
  6. Use the Swimming complex: Most of the estates have a swimming complex. You will need it if you are staying in an HDB flat, as these facilities are not provided. For swimming pools access at the sports complex, bring in your EZlink card. More information:

Hope you have a pleasant stay in Singapore.


About nilakshi

Needless to say, I am a writer. Here on my blog you will find from the most mundane to the most interesting facets of life. My writings are a reflection of my experiences of everyday life. I love to write travel blogs, and anything and everything that catches my eye. You are all invited to comment, criticize, debate, and discuss on the topics.
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